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Agency

Journal of Northeast Texas Archaeology

DOI

https://doi.org/10.21112/.ita.1998.1.44

Abstract

The fine, sandy soils of East Texas and Northwest Louisiana have been the source of archaeological debate for some time. This discourse concerns the mode of burial of cultural material in the easily eroded soils and the mechanics of recent (Holocene) landform evolution. Because these deposits are typically well-drained, organic matter does not preserve well, thus hindering the dating of the geomorphic events that figure prominently in their development and the prehistoric occupations which lie buried throughout uplands of this region. A relatively new dating technique, optical dating, has much to offer this region and the archaeological community as it measures the period of time that has elapsed since sand grains were last exposed to sunlight. Hence, it directly dates the time of sediment transportation and deposition. This method is therefore applicable to a number of archaeological and geomorphic processes which may not be dated by traditional methods, owing to the lack of organic matter suitable for radiocarbon dating. In geomorphic contexts, optical dating may be preferred over radiocarbon as it directly dates the time of sedimentation rather than the age of organic matter in features such as buried soils that may be significantly different from the geomorphic event which fossilized the soil.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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